Planning a Pregnancy?

Start folic acid tablets

Folic acid is a B group vitamin tablet which we advise you to take for at least a month before you plan a pregnancy. Taking folic acid helps to prevent birth defects of your brain and spinal cord. It has no side effects

Rubella antibody testing

Rubella is a virus and if infection with this virus occurs for the first time in pregnancy, your baby can be affected too. Therefore, it is very important that a blood test is done to ensure that you already have protection against rubella. If you do not have antibodies already, we will advise a rubella vaccine to give you protection and also advise you to avoid a pregnancy for one month.

Watch your BMI

A BMI above 25 and a BMI below 20 may delay your getting pregnant. Therefore ideal body weight is essential. Remember there is a 4% decrease in fertility for every point in BMI above 30.

Eat healthy

A balanced meal with carbohydrates, protein and unsaturated fats, fibre is essential. Moderation is the word to remember- too much of anything is not good!

Fertility foods

One quarter of all infertility is due to the failure to produce an egg – called ‘ovulatory dysfunction’, This is closely related to eating habits. A study on 18,000 women has shown that the following foods help. It must be understood that this is not an alternative to treatment but is an adjunct to success. It is not just women but men who also need to be on the right diet if planning on a pregnancy

Follow our recommendations

Avoid trans fats : found in fast foods, cakes, chips etc.

Use monounsaturated fats : olive oil

Eat vegetable protein : soya, sprouts, beans & nuts instead of animal protein(meat).

Increase the fibre : whole grains, vegetables, fruit like melons, apples, sweet lime.

Milk : one glass a day, preferably low fat.

Smoking

Smoking has a very negative effect on male fertility. Cigarettes contain nicotine – This affects sperm motility and also may also damage the DNA in the sperm. This can cause a delay in conceiving and also miscarriage. Smoking can also affect sexual function and cause problems in erection – called ‘erectile dysfunction’.

Passive smoking is when your spouse inhales the smoke. Smoking and passive smoking affect the woman’s chance of conceiving too. Even if she does conceive – her chance of miscarriage, having a poorly growing baby are increased. Smoking depletes the number of eggs in a woman’s ovaries and may result in earlier menopause

QUIT SMOKING because that is the best move towards increasing your chance of conceiving.

Alcohol

There is a clear and direct link between drinking and difficulty in getting pregnant. Men should not drink more than 3 units a day.

Women who drink- must drink even lesser and must abstain from alcohol as soon as they get pregnant.

Binge drinking is dangerous and must be avoided.

How much is one unit of alcohol? Please view this useful link to understand what one unit of alcohol means drinkaware Marijuana definitely affects sperm counts and it is a big NO always and more so when you are trying to conceive.

When is the fertile period?

The egg is released from the ovary at about the 14th day before the next period. In a woman who has a period every 28 days, this happens on the 14th day. This is very variable and would depend on the length of each woman’s cycle. Timing intercourse only during the ten days around ‘ovulation’ or the so called ‘fertile period’ is no longer advised. The egg is alive for 24 hours beyond which it cannot be fertilized. The sperms however are capable of fertilizing the egg for at least 48 hours. Therefore, rather than restricting intercourse to the ‘fertile period’ and hoping to get pregnant – it is advisable to have intercourse every 48 hours to enable an adequate number of sperms to be present all the time, ready to fertilize the egg.

Which professions affect your chance of conceiving?

Heat – The testes are in the scrotum outside the body cavity because normal sperm production needs a temperature which is slightly below core body temperature. Occupations which cause heat exposure can therefore reduce sperm count. These are – cooking, driving long distances, bakery, foundry etc. Also jobs which involve sitting for long periods of time can heat up the testicles. Placing a laptop on your lap while working can worsen heat damage. Therefore for IT professionals – take short breaks while working and do not place a laptop on your lap. Tight fitting underwear made from synthetic fabric should be replaced by loose fitting boxer shorts made of cotton. So get ready before you get started!

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